The recent tragedy of the still-missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 has brought the tracking of aircraft sharply into focus, and at a conference last week in Montreal ICAO forged a consensus to develop aircraft tracking as matter of priority. While this is a welcome move, the ability to transmit more than just positional data is critical in allowing ground experts to not only determine the causes of losses, but also to give aircrew a better chance of averting a loss.
The prolonged search for the Boeing 777-200 operated as Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 brought attention to onboard data transmission systems that report an aircraft’s position and other information in real time. Such a system could help track an aircraft that disappears from radar coverage.
AeroMechanical Services, operating as Flyht, will provide NetJets Europe with the automated flight information reporting system (Afirs) and services for 30 Hawker Beechcraft 750/800XPs.
Thomas French, Aeromechanical Services’ CFO, told AIN, “We’ve been dealing with smaller groups, primarily regional carriers, specialty carriers and cargo operators with 30 or fewer aircraft. This places the technology we’ve developed over the years with a major player and takes us into another level.”
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Flight Tracking Command Center opened in Lagos in mid-April, coincidentally shortly after the IOC presentation touting African airspace modernization. At the request of the NCAA, Calgary, Canada-based AeroMechanical Services developed a satellite-based tracking system for Nigerian airline operations using a proprietary on-aircraft data streaming box.
Air France Flight 447, the Airbus A330-200 that was lost over the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Brazil in June, was the elephant in the room when AeroMechanical Services (AMS) briefed the press on its Flyht Automated Flight Information Reporting System (Afirs) at NBAA yesterday.